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British Industrial History

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Ernst Foerster

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Dr. Eng. Ernst Foerster (c1877-1955)

1955 Obituary [1]

IT is with deep regret that we have to record the death recently of Dr.-Ing Ernst Foerster, the joint publisher and chief editor of Schiff und Hafen, Hamburg. Dr. Foerster was in his seventy-ninth year. Happily, he was able to carry on his many-sided work almost to the last.

He studied naval architecture and marine engineering at the Technical High School, Charlottenburg and, after completing his course, he joined the firm of Blohm and Voss, of Hamburg, and for nine years worked as naval architect and later as marine engineer on commercial ship construction. He was closely connected and responsible for the design and construction of the hull and machinery of the "Vaterland."

On leaving Blohm and Voss, Dr. Foerster joined the Hamburg-Amerika Line, and took charge of the ship construction department of the firm for over eight years. In 1920 he resigned from the Hamburg-Amerika Line in order to become an independent consulting engineer, but he retained his position as permanent technical adviser to the Hapag for many years. During this time he took a keen interest in the facilities for ship tank testing work in Hamburg and he formulated plans for the construction of the Hamburg tank.

In 1920 he also became chief editor of the technical journal Werft-ReederiHafen, which had been founded by the Springer publishing firm. His close connection with the shipbuilding industry and the shipping firms enabled him to carry on the paper with great success until 1945, when conditions after the second world war forced it to close down. He found time to re-edit the "Hilfsbuch fiir den Schiffbau," by von Johow, and also to write his own book on practical shipbuilding. When the construction of the Hamburg testing tank of the Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt was begun following the closing of the Bremen tank, when the Bremen harbour was rebuilt, Dr. Foerster took a personal interest in its work and was on the board of the tank for some twenty years.

He it was who founded "The Society of Friends and Supporters of the Hamburg Tank," which had a wide membership in all parts of Europe, and did much to provide means for research and work for the tank. This Society had to be disbanded after the second world war but he revived it in recent years. An interesting feature of the work of the Society was the series of summer and autumn meetings held in ships such as the " Monte Rosa " and " Monte Pascoal," which made short voyages to other countries. In this way England, Scotland, Scandinavia and European countries were visited, bringing friends together and seeing important shipbuilding centres. Dr. Foerster was a member of the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure for over fifty years and took a keen interest in the work of the Hamburg branch. In recent years he gave several lectures on various aspects of German shipbuilding and marine engineering. He also belonged to the Schiffbautechnischen Gesellschaft and for close on fifty years he worked with it.

He was also a member of the Institution of Naval Architects for many years. His editorial and international work suffered from the aftermath of the 1945 war but he did not lose courage and in 1949, together with Professor Dr.-Ing Schnadel, he founded the journal Schiff und Hafen. His outstanding work for the shipbuilding and shipping industries of his own country will long be remembered, and he will be sorely missed by many friends in many countries.

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